When Intoxication is a Defence to Criminal Offences – An update December 2016

It is crucial to recognise that as lawyers we often ignore evidence of intoxication by clients
when those clients are providing an account of what happened during the commission of a
suspect offence. Worse still, as lawyers, we may even consider that evidence as proof of the
guilt of our clients. To always dismiss evidence of intoxication as something that is either
irrelevant or inculpatory is extremely dangerous and may expose the solicitor or barrister to a
claim of professional negligence. We must all stay alert and alive to the possible ways in which
evidence of intoxication provides a full defence to a suspect.

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